This is a fascinating and terrific look at one of the pioneers of the beat generation, a woman who defied the odds and made her name known in the world of poetry.
Ruth Weiss, or simply “ruth weiss”, had always defied the odds since her childhood. Born during the beginning of Nazism, Weiss and her family narrowly escaped to Vienna, then the Netherlands until they reached the United States of America. Settling in California in her twenties, Weiss had always had a passion for writing poetry. She began making friends with those who shared a common love for the arts, from writers and artists to musicians. However, a chance encounter led her to fuse jazz music with her poetry and she began to get noticed.
Inspired by a film called The Boy with Green Hair, Weiss decided to color her hair green as a statement. In 1952, her life changed when she met Jack Kerouac. The two, along with Neal Cassady, formed a friendship and this led to the movement known as the Beat Generation. Weiss would continue her jazz poetry for music for many years to come until her untimely death in 2020.
She was a rockstar in her profession. She was a pioneer, but in a male-dominated world, was rarely noticed. To the fanbase of the Beat Generation, ruth weiss was the definition of an icon. Filmmaker Melody C. Miller gives us a look at the life of the iconic beat poet, who not only help pioneer the Beat Generation, but the San Francisco movement, paving the way for fellow female artists and writers to tell the status quo that they are their own people and will not conform to the norm, at least the norm to those who opposed to anything not conservative.
Aside from interviews with those who had an appreciation for weiss and the Beat Generation, we get to hear from the woman herself. From her performances as she reads her poems to the music, we learn how she has been defying the odds since childhood. From escaping Europe and the Third Reich to adjusting to life in the United States, her childhood passion of poetry was what kept her going. We also get to see vignettes where we see ballet dancers performing to weiss’ jazz poetry fusion at times. We get to learn about the post-Beat generation and how the LGBTQ community accepted her with open arms as she used her experience to assist with stage shows in San Francisco and how she kept rolling on until her passing.
ruth weiss: the beat goddess is an amazing look at the life of the pioneering beat poet. She has proven to defy the odds most of her life and her life is one that needs to be celebrated and remembered and this documentary succeeds in doing both.
WFG RATING: A
A ruth weiss the beat goddess LLC Inc. production. Director: Melody C. Miller. Producer: Melody C. Miller. Cinematography: Melody C. Miller. Editing: Eric F. Martin and Melody C. Miller.
Cast: ruth weiss.